BGE Jade

Beyond Good & Evil coming to XBLA

Lo and behold, this February the cult classic, Beyond Good and Evil, makes a return to the console in HD. BG&E is one of those games that never sold well, but you’d be pleasantly surprised if you gave it a chance. In the same vein as other esoteric games like Psychonauts or Omikron: The Nomad Soul, BG&E decided to take a chance on a game that didn’t pit you as a growly-voiced, alpha-male in body armor against a horde of aliens (it doesn’t matter if they come from the ground, or space ::inside joke::). Naturally, it was critically acclaimed, but a commercial flop, leaving those who did play the game clamoring for a sequel.

What is all about?

Ok, well there are Alien invaders here, but not made of the same stuff as popular first person shooters. There is a political conspiracy, planetary residents seeking refuge, and an underground movement seeking to restore order for the people. You are Jade, a freelance photographer who donates her earnings toward the maintenance of the planetary shield that keeps the aliens at bay. She quickly becomes swept up in the IRIS Network, the underground organization which suspects the government is in league with the aliens, the DomZ, helping them to kidnap citizens.

Jade is equipped with a camera, which she uses to scan the environment for clues, photograph (a-la Poekmon Snap) creatures to earn cash, and obtain evidence of conspiracy. For combat, Jade uses a staff and discs for attacking at range. She is aided by companions in the IRIS network who assist her in solving puzzles, and navigating platforming levels. Jade also drives a hovercraft to traverse the “world map”, which takes her to the various puzzles and platforming levels scattered throughout. Jades equipment and abilities can be upgraded using her credits, and is required to reach new levels on the map. The game features an interesting mix of puzzle-solving, platforming, stealth, and vehicle combat.

Why you should care.

Stealth, environment scanning, underground movements, and conspiracies? Sounds a bit like Splinter Cell or Assassin’s Creed. And, NPC-assisted platforming and combat? That reminds me of Prince of Persia. You’re right on all accounts, this is a Ubisoft game. You’re guaranteed to get an understandable story, with the excellent character control you’ve come to expect from this “multicultural team of various religious faiths and beliefs.” And, unless you are content to play nothing but FPS-inspired sequels for the foreseeable future (Resistance 3, Gears 3, Cod 25(?)) you’ll want to support the dwindling number of quality, novel experiences from disc-based games (Arcade titles notwithstanding).

Conveniently enough, a long-awaited sequel to this 2003 title is finally in the works. No time like the present to check out, or replay, this gaming gem in beautiful HD and get caught up on the story. Happy gaming.

Scott

Hi, I’m one of the founders of Nerd Appropriate and the Rated NA podcast. I like good and bad sci-fi films and tv, pho, and the retrofuture. I am primarily an Xbox gamer, but also do some PC and Wii U gaming as well. By day, I am a research scientist, mostly in topics related to human-computer interaction and user experience. Before all this, fellow NA co-founder Matt and I played music together in various bands. I also used to make "comedy" videos for my high school morning news program before there was a place to post them online. Favorite Star Wars character? Admiral Ackbar. Best Bond era? Timothy Dalton (Craig a close second). Game of all time? Maybe System Shock 2. Thanks for being a part of this labor of nerdy love with us.
  • Ash

    I’ll be getting this on day 1. I’m hoping that it still plays well after 7 + years. I never really had a clue what the game was about either, so I’m hoping the platforming isn’t too frustrating. (I hate falling)

  • The platforming is not too bad, meaning that i don’t remember dying cheaply. There are some stealth and chase sequences that are a bit challenging however.

  • Oh hells yeah. I did like this game 7 years ago. I too hope it stands up the test of time.